Over the next few weeks, kids across the country are going back to school – or preparing for their very first day, like five-year-old Brooke Adams. She is now able to get ready for her first day of kindergarten after a judge issued a ruling to allow her to be given medical marijuana while attending public school.
Brooke suffers from a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome that causes frequent seizures. To fight this condition, she is given daily doses of a CBD tincture. But, in emergency situations where a seizure does occur, she is given a does of high THC cannabis oil to stop the seizure.
While some states – including Colorado, Maine and New Jersey – have laws that specifically allow students to have medical marijuana on school campuses, California has yet to clarify this issue. Considering Proposition 64 prohibits any form of marijuana within 1,000 feet of public schools, the Rincon Valley Union School District (RVUSD) was not originally going to let Brooke bring the possibly life-saving medicine to school with her.
“Rincon Valley would like to see the restrictions changed so that students with disabilities who require medical marijuana to be administered during the school day per a physician’s (recommendation) can attend appropriate public school campuses, just as any other student would be able to do,” said Cathy Myhers, assistant superintendent for student services at RVUSD, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Brooke had her first seizure at only three and a half months old. Her longest seizure lasted about three hours. She was a little more than a year old when she was issued her medical marijuana card, allowing the family to combat the condition with CBD – the only FDA approved treatment for Dravet syndrome.
However, regardless of CBD’s soon-to-be rescheduled status and the federal approval of CBD-based drug Epidiolex, CBD currently remains federally illegal on any school campus – and state laws don’t specifically protect her right to medicate as needed, like anyone with a prescription would normally be allowed.
“If we’re really looking for what’s in the best interest of the child, we’re not asking the school to do anything evasive. It’s essentially doing something that a parent feels comfortable doing at home,” Dr. Joseph Sullivan, director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Center at UCSF’s Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The California Office of Administrative Hearings’ Special Education Division heard this case on July 25th and are expected to issue a final ruling by mid-November. In the meantime, Judge Charles Marson granted a temporary order allowing Brooke to go to kindergarten and take her medical cannabis with her until that final ruling is made.